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Coalition seeks amendments on water agreement

19 February 2016

Speaking after the Council of Minister’s meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Omer Kalyoncu said that the coalition government continues and that he will visit Turkey in the forthcoming days to discuss the water issue with Turkish officials. Kibris Gazetesi reports that Kalyoncu noted that the cabinet discussed “routine issues” and exchanged views on the water dispute as well.

Following discussions in the Cabinet meeting, the leaders of the two coalition partners, Mehmet Ali Talat (Republican Turkish Party) and Huseyin Ozgurgun (National Unity Party) met at Talat’s office and discussed the water management issue. According to ‘Vatan’, during the meeting the two leaders held a telephone conversation with the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. The paper writes that Talat and Ozgurgun informed Davutoglu that they want some amendments to be made to the text of the water agreement. The two party leaders will reportedly work with urgency towards signing the agreement.

Additionally, economy minister Sunat Atun said that there is drought in North Cyprus and this may continue. Therefore, the debates on the agreement with Turkey are “groundless and untimely”, he argued. Atun criticised the accusations against Turkey on this issue and said that the UBP could not remain a mere spectator to these developments, adding that his party is ready to conclude the issue on the basis of the agreement reached with Turkey. “The UBP conveyed this view to the prime minister at today’s cabinet meeting. The UBP ministers are very determined on this issue following instructions they received from their chairman”, he added and expressed his regret about “some propaganda conducted against Turkey”.

Finally, Kibris Gazetesi reports also that the Social Democracy Party (TDP) visited the municipalities of Goneyli, Kyrenia, Yeni Iskele and Famagusta asking for support in its fight against the agreement made between Turkey and the government on the water issue.

In statements after their meeting on Thursday, Ismail Arter, mayor of Famagusta, said that the water issue has been discussed for a long time but the municipalities have been excluded from these discussions.

“We have been following the issue through the press for one year. The last text has been sent to us by mail because we asked it”, he noted adding that they started debating the issue after everything was over. He said that Famagusta has an agreement until 2023 with a private company which operates a desalination facility and when they asked government officials what will happen with this facility which covers half of the needs of the city, they could not get a satisfactory reply. “While there are so many disagreements on the water issue, how we will be able to achieve the common target in the Cyprus problem”, he wondered.

Kibris Gazetesi, Vatan

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